GREEN BAY — Lizzie Boughton of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish set a goal for her first reconciliation project. She wanted to donate 100 items for Handbags for Hope, a nonprofit organization that collects personal hygiene products to fill bags for women in need.
Mission accomplished. Lizzie, the daughter of Mike and Lynn Boughton, stopped counting at 700 items.
“First our family was just going to donate a couple items, but then I had an idea that we should involve more people,” said Lizzie, a second grade student at Holy Family School. “So I gave a flyer to my classmates and made a presentation. I made a video for my mom’s work friends and at my brother’s (Ben) birthday party, I told my family about it.”
“Everybody was super generous,” said Lynn. “We were humbled by the generosity of her classmates. There was a mom that had 30 hats. A lady had all these travel size samples. We just got bags and bags of stuff from her classmates.”
One item Lizzie found in a bag from a friend when sorting donations was a funny surprise, she said.
“I think her groceries got mixed up,” she said with a laugh. “I got rotten blueberries.”
The first reconciliation project was required to focus on one of the corporal works of mercy. Lynn discovered information about Handbags for Hope in a newsletter for the Green Bay Area Public School District, where she serves as an occupational therapist.
“I read Lizzie the little description that was on the website and she said that she would love to do that,” said Lynn. “Toothpaste and toothbrushes were singled out as great needs and were the items we received the most. We were excited when stuff would come in. It was slow to start, but her teacher would put in a plug. Mrs. (Lisa) Krcma, her teacher, was just wonderful in helping to promote it.”
Lizzie also provides outreach through Girl Scouts. For the holidays, her troop visited residents at an area assisted living facility to sing Christmas carols and hand out gifts. The girls returned for Valentine’s Day with homemade Valentine’s cards, flowers and hot cocoa.
“It was nice seeing the multigenerational interaction,” said Lynn.
“It was fun,” said Lizzie, who will make her first Communion this spring. “I would like to do more service projects. We do a lot of running for sports and activities, so it’s a nice change.”
In addition to Girl Scouts, Lizzie is a member of a Destination Imagination (creative thinking) team at school, a dancer on a competition team and plays softball. Her favorite school subjects are art and science. Her hobbies include baking and drawing.
She presented her reconciliation project at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
“I made a poster and wrote an essay about what I did and how much it meant to me,” she explained. “I learned that helping others in the community is fun.”
Lizzie’s photo and a thank you message from Handbags from Hope was posted on the organization’s Facebook page.
“It was a neat experience to see people step up for the common good,” said Lynn.